September Marks National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month
Annual Awareness Campaign Seeks to Eliminate Stigma, Encourage Ohioans to Get Help
(COLUMBUS, OH – August 11, 2010) September marks Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. With national alcohol consumption rates at their highest point in 25 years, and prescription drug abuse becoming firmly entrenched in communities large and small, the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) is using the spotlight to remind the public that addiction is a treatable disease and to encourage Ohioans to seek help.
“Prescription drug abuse is a significant problem in Ohio,” said ODADAS Director Angela Cornelius Dawson. “The non-medical use of prescription drugs has been increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. Recovery Month provides a perfect opportunity to educate the public about the dangers of misusing these medicines and other substances, and encourages those who may be struggling with an addiction to seek help.”
Admissions to publicly-funded treatment for heroin and other opiates – including prescription painkillers – have steadily increased the past decade from 4.4 percent of all clients in treatment in 1999 to 15.5 percent in 2009. A recent Ohio Department of Health study found that in the past year more Ohioans died as a result of accidental drug poisonings and overdoses than in automobile crashes.
As recently as June 18, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a morbidity and mortality report that showed increasing morbidity associated with non-medical use of pharmaceutical controlled substances. Meanwhile, a 2009 survey conducted by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America revealed persons between the ages of 12 and 17 abuse prescription drugs more than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. In this age group, prescription drug abuse is second only to marijuana use, according to The Partnership. The ease of access to prescription medication is a contributing factor in this growing trend of abuse.
This April, Governor Ted Strickland formed the Ohio Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force to examine trends and formulate policy recommendations aimed at halting the state’s burgeoning prescription drug/opiate problem. Four work groups have been established to address the treatment, law enforcement, regulatory and public health aspects of the issue. The Task Force is expected to release its findings this fall.
A number of Ohio communities have already held, or are in the planning stages of organizing prescription drug take-back events to properly dispose of unused medicine. On Saturday, Sept. 25, communities across the state will have an opportunity to participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “National Take-Back Initiative.” Residents in participating communities will be encouraged to drop off unused prescription drugs at designated collection sites.
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“The collection, removal, and safe disposal of unused medication from households and long-term care facilities removes a potential avenue of diversion, limits the availability of medications to drug seekers/abusers and decreases the potential for accidental ingestion/poisoning,” said Director Dawson, noting her agency will make available toolkits to help local communities plan and execute prescription drug take back events during Recovery Month.
Now in its 21st year, Recovery Month is a nationwide celebration sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 2010 theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Now More Than Ever!” is designed to reach groups who often face times of high stress, such as public safety officials, the workforce, older adults, and families. This stress may contribute to or exacerbate alcohol and/or drug use, including prescription drugs, which can lead to a substance use disorder or relapse.
In a resolution officially establishing September as Recovery Month in Ohio, Governor Strickland urged all Ohioans to rally around the meaning behind Recovery Month. Communities across the state are answering the Governor’s call-to-action by planning and hosting local awareness events designed to eliminate stigma and other barriers to treatment.
For more information about Recovery Month, visit: www.recoverymonth.gov. If you, or someone you know, need help, contact Ohio’s toll-free HELPLINE at 1-800-788-7254 or visit www.odadas.ohio.gov to learn about local treatment options.
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Media Contact: Amanda Conn-Starner, Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Chief of Communications – 614/644-8456 or email@example.com